Sudan war: Civilians continue to bear brunt of complex crisis

Combatants in Sudan on a vehicle mounted with a 'dushka' .50-cal machinegun (File photo: Albert Gonzalez Farran / UNAMID)

The Abu Gouta Resistance Committees in northwest El Gezira reported an entire family was killed by indiscriminate aerial bombardments on Sunday. The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) face accusations of civilian detentions in El Gezira, and clashes continue to intensify across Omdurman as the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) continue to make gains across Khartoum’s sister city.

Approximately 508,900 people have been displaced from El Gezira, with reports of many detained in RSF detention centres. Reports also accuse that the SAF’s campaign of relentless shelling have done nothing but further exacerbate the conflict and compound the suffering of the civilian population.

The Wad Madani Resistance Committees underscored a looming humanitarian disaster in El Gezira, citing the absence of medicines, food shortages, insecurity, and deprivation of necessities.

The statement highlighted the systematic destruction of El Gezira’s assets, including the El Gezira Agricultural Scheme, as well as various university complexes. According to their statement, the “conflict’s primary target” is the civilian population.

They also alleged in the statement that the RSF raids on homes of Wad Madani resistance committee members resulted in the torching of a resistance member’s home.

‘Shift in tactics’

Researcher Mohamed Abbas spoke to Ultra Sudan yesterday, stating that a “critical turning point in the Sudanese conflict” has been reached as the SAF continue to gain ground in Omdurman. However, concerns linger over previous setbacks and the RSF’s potential counter-attacks.

Delving into the military dynamics, the SAF’s recent gains and strategic advances have been a far cry from their previous tactics in the sister city. Activist Hassan Bakri states on X (formerly known as Twitter) that the SAF is now not only attacking previously held RSF strongholds, but “placing advanced outposts and taking control of high buildings”. He adds that the RSF would be hard-pressed to regain these sites as the SAF are no longer withdrawing after they sweep through an area.

Whilst noting that significant gains over the last week have been made, the Sudan War Monitor states that these gains may be an “over exaggeration and likely pro-SAF propaganda”.

In a speech last week, Commander-in-Chief of the SAF and President of the Sovereignty Council Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan expressed optimism about their progress, declaring it the “beginning of the end” for the RSF. Maj Gen Waleed Ajabna echoed this sentiment, emphasising the shift from “defensive to offensive operations”.

As the situation in Omdurman remains volatile, the outcome will no doubt have broader implications for Sudan’s capital region. The conflict continues to leave the civilian population at the mercy of counterattacks from either side, only exacerbating the current humanitarian catastrophe.

With Sudan’s fate so uncertain at the precipice of an ever more complex situation, many have called on global actors to act swiftly and facilitate a path toward lasting peace.